This week’s CD reviews: Bomb Pops, Paul Burch, Chapter 13, <a href=”old”Old 97’s, Postal Blue, Skrape, Toulouse Bomb Pops Recommended for Diversion Seekers (Grimsey) Grade: B+ 7″ singles have potential cool energy. Not only are

This week’s CD reviews: Bomb Pops, Paul Burch, Chapter 13, <a href=”old”Old 97’s, Postal Blue, Skrape, Toulouse

Bomb Pops
Recommended for Diversion Seekers
Grade: B+

7″ singles have potential cool energy. Not only are they a relatively cheap way to hear a new band, but they can, if in the right hands, be the source of strangely essential music.

Most bands never get past the 7″ format. Unlike most of these bands, the fact that Bomb Pops never made a proper full length is less a blessing and more a tragedy. Luckily for the non-record collector, Recommended for Diversion Seekers gathers their four very fine singles.

The Minneapolis trio is intricate and lush, held together by a strong pop sensibility. Their sound has influenced numerous bands, including another great Minnesota outfit, the Hang Ups. From the bare bones instrumental “Cheery” to the more layered “Love Me Nots,” a wealth of talent is documented on this 13-track CD.

Combining the best parts of Galaxie 500, Mazzy Star and Slowdive, Bomb Pops had strokes of genius like Manet.

-Neal Ramirez

Paul Burch
Last of My Kind
Grade: A+

While Paul Burch may not be the last of his kind, he’s certainly a member of a dying breed. When most people hear the term Country/Western, they think of crap like Garth Brooks and Wynona Judd. There aren’t too many artists out there who play good, old-time, hillbilly country music anymore.

This is the music that was eluded to over and over again in O, Brother Where Art Thou? The kind of music where all you needed was a banjo, guitar, harmonica, some moonshine and a front porch.

Burch pulls it off well, too. It’s good to see someone stick to his roots in this day and age of electronically processed, boy band bullshit.

So, pull your rockin’ chair out on the front porch, pour yourself a glass of Country Time and have a listen.

-Jeremy Smith

Chapter 13
The World from Heaven
Grade: F

This synth/electronic duo from England features a former music critic and a former “DIY Porn Star,” according to their bio. If the idea sounds decadent and a tad bit pretentious, wait until you get a load of the music they make. The World From Heaven is chock full of uninspired Casio keyboard-like arrangements and compositions that may very well have been songs rejected by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark back in 1983. This CD is for pretentious art student types only.

-Maureen Walsh

Old 97’s
Satellite Rides
Grade: A

While alt-country still has yet to break out of the NPR world, Old 97’s might just be the ones to do it. Their embracement of pop has grown with each album; 1997’s Too Far To Care was predominately country, while 1999’s Fight Songs was a mix of slow twang and fast rock. Staying true to that progression, Satellite Rides is the most accessible album they’ve put out to date. The bulk of the disc is fast and fun, beefing up the “alt” but not forgetting the “country.” Ripping rock guitar complements purdy vocal harmonies by front man Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond, with only one slow song (the sweet and simple “Question”) in the mix. Songs like “King of All the World,” “Bird in a Cage,” and “Up the Devil’s Pay” prove to be some of the best of the 97’s young career, making the possibility that the band will grow beyond 88.5 obscurity greater than ever.

-John Vettese

Postal Blue
Grade: C+

In the tradition of Creation and Sarah Records comes the quaint Brazilian quartet, Postal Blue. Let’s take a look at their first release play-by-play.

“Asleep” has all the makings of a twee pop classic. Resonant drums. Softly strummed guitars. The only thing that keeps it from perfection is the boring, shoegazer-inspired vocals. The song barely changes over its nearly 5 minutes.

“Summer is what you Call it” recalls a up and coming Scottish folk-pop band with its soft sweeping chorus. It might be the disc highlight.

When the first 10 of the 18 minutes are up, one hopes Postal Blue can pull some greatness out of its hat. “Maybe I’m Dreaming” isn’t it. This lackluster track sounds like a throwaway from the last Belle and Sebastian album.

“I know where your dreams go” closes out the four song EP in an epic, sweeping fashion. It’s not horrid, but it’s far from amazing.

The best thing about this self-titled debut EP is it sounds like it might float away at any moment. It’s also the worst thing.

-Neal Ramirez

New Killer America
Grade: A+/F-

You can tell that Skrape isn’t any ordinary, watered-down, “in-your-face,” neo-metal band. They’re extra hardcore. That’s why they spell their name with a “k.”

They prove it on New Killer America…oh, wait, they don’t prove shit. They are just another crappy neo-metal band who thinks they’re cool because they spell words wrong. It may only be mid-April, but this album is a contender for worst of the year.

You sort of have to feel bad for the poor sucker who convinced RCA not only to sign these saps, but to also spend large amounts of money packaging this crap-fest in a beautiful enhanced CD.

New Killer America does have its plus features, though. It’s quite handy to “skrape” dog shit and gum from the crannies of your sneakers.

-Jeremy Smith

New Points New Lines
Grade: A

With a sound reminiscent of late-1970s/early-1980s New York punk rock with a hint of garage rock thrown in for good measure, Boston’s Toulouse is definitely a revelation in this day and age. Each song on New Points New Lines is complete with heavy drums and bass, Hammond organ riffs, and cheeky lyrics. Toulouse represent what indie music should sound like in that they are sloppy and a bit chaotic, but they have a fun vibe that is too often missing from today’s college music.

The best part is that Toulouse are smart and clever; for too long we have had to listen to the plights of youth from the likes of Fred Durst, Eminem, and other sophomoric morons. Finally, there is an album out there that tells things from an intelligent point of view.

-Maureen Walsh

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